Saturday morning. Wake up before my wife and the children. My wife’s been working a lot lately so I throw on some clothes to surprise them all with Dunkin Donuts. ($5 for a dozen donuts coupon, baby!) My hand is just inches away from the doorknob when the six year old comes down rubbing her eyes. “Where are you going?”

Flash forward two minutes later, I’m putting her coat on. Normally she does it herself but the sleeves were turned inside out and she was still waking up. It started to look like she was fighting a flannel squid and losing. So I helped. That’s what I do.

We were still giggling over the epic sleeve battle when the three year old stumbles down the stairs. He looked at me near the door with my coat on as if he just caught me stealing. Then his little wheels started turning and he asked, “Can I come?

“You don’t even know where we’re going?” laughed the six year old.

“Where are we going?” he asked logically.

“Dunkin Donuts” I whispered.

OK. Here’s a little lesson – don’t tell a sleepy child that he’s getting donuts while he’s still on the stairs. He acted like an electric jolt was sent through him, he teetered excitedly on the step, darted up two steps and then raced back down three. He was so excited he was dancing on the steps unsure what to do, where to go, what to grab.

“Come down. I’ll get you clothes,” I whispered.

I had a fresh load of laundry I’d folded that still hadn’t gone up to their room so I dressed the boy who also had massive trouble with sleeves. (Note to self: Look on WebMD for hereditary sicknesses with symptoms making children unable to navigate sleeves.) Tied the boy’s shoes. We were ready. Again.

“Uh, Dad,” said the six year old.


“I hear the baby.”

Darn. We recently moved the baby into the girl’s room and as she wakes up she obviously feels it’s outrageous that anyone else should still be sleeping and remedies that by squealing, screeching, screaming and singing. Now, my wife has better baby hearing than I do so she typically runs upstairs, grabs the baby out of the crib and then lands her on top of me.

But I don’t want my wife to wake up so I tell the six year old and the three year old to wait where they are. Upstairs I go. Creek open the girl’s door, tip-toe past the two sleeping girls, walk up to the baby who sees me and screeches with excitement. (And she doesn’t even know we’re getting Donuts yet!) Lift the baby. Turn around. Bump into the three year old!

“What are you doing?” I whisper. “You’re supposed to wait at the door.”

“Yeah,” he blew past my accusation. “The girls are bums, right Dad? Sleeping the whole day away. They don’t even know we’re getting donuts.”

What!? The two girls are awake. “Donuts? We’re getting donuts? Can we come?”

Six minutes later all five children are buckled in the van. You would’ve thought we were going to Great Adventure. Yipping and yaying, talking about donuts they’d love that hadn’t been invented yet. Half pink icing, half chocolate, with ice cream inside (not sure how that would work), chocolate chips seemed to be the consensus.

Note to self: Ask Dunkin Donuts lady why they don’t have donuts with chocolate chips in them. Sounds like a good idea.)

I can’t go through the drive thru because the kids each asked if they could pick which kind of donuts because they despise jelly donuts. Despise isn’t even the word. To them, jelly donuts are an affront to all donut-kind, which is rather odd for kids who eat PB and J sandwiches as often as they do. So I let them pick their own donuts. Here’s the problem I didn’t foresee. A few of them can’t read. So there was a lot of pointing and these poor ladies behind the counter had to figure out where my children were pointing and then look back at the child for a nod or a shake of the head. I apologized forty times.

Now don’t get me wrong. The ladies behind the counter all made a big deal of the children. “Look at them. So cute. So polite.” And one lady behind the counter gave each of the children two munchkins -because a dozen donuts wasn’t unhealthy enough.

This seemed to be the equivalent of drug dealers giving drugs away to kids for free just to get them hooked. But instead of accusing them of this I just thanked her.

So I’m driving home with 12 donuts, 10 munchkins, and 5 children when I hear a screech. “Aaaaaghgggghghghghghgh.” The three year old boy unsuspectingly took a bite of a jelly munchkin. As I turn around he’s wiping his tongue with his sleeve to rid his mouth of any hint of jelly.

When we got home my wife was awake. So much for letting her sleep in.

The children ate their donuts and moved on to playing with their stuffed animals while I paid bills (enough that it made me regret spending $5 on donuts), folded the next load of laundry (made sure all the sleeves were right side out), and sorted all the miscellaneous items that get placed on the dining room table (including one jelly munchkin.)

At about 11 a.m. I announced, “OK guys, I need you to clean the playroom. Put away all your toys so we can go out to the library.”

I sat down on the couch for the first time that day. I’m pretty sure I was sitting on a purple elephant but I didn’t care. Just then, the seven year old walked in. “Uh Dad, can’t you help us…even a little. You’re just sitting around.”